12 April 2014


So, I haven't updated this in quite a while, and a lot has changed. The big thing recently is that I took a job as a government contractor with a company that supplies bomb-sniffing and other working dogs to overseas contracts. Just over two weeks ago I arrived on a one year contract as in-house veterinarian on a base in Iraq. The big reason for the jump, aside from the money and moving away from private practice, is that the experience should serve me very well when I apply to federal fellowship programs for next year.

So far it's been interesting work. The problems I've encountered have been fairly standard fare, but I'm working with a mix of American, Iraqi, and South African dog handlers, who are by and large really decent and fun people to work with. The dogs range from total sweethearts to eat-your-face-off types, but I rely on the handlers to hold the dogs so I can do my job, and I really love watching all of them work. They're just amazing and really love what they do.

I'm working on learning some Arabic, and the little I do know is already coming in handy. This evening I came out of the shower building to three Iraqi kids from a cleaning crew asking me if it was "Hospital?" After I walked them down to the clinic here on the contractor compound, which had closed for the night, I realized they must have seen me in my scrub top and thought I was the doctor. I was able to explain to them that I'm the veterinarian and that tomorrow there will be an Iraqi doctor at the clinic. By the end of this, I hope to have an additional language skill, which will also come in handy when applying to fellowships.

And aside from all of that, the desert dawns have been quite spectacular.